AN EXAMINATION OF TOUCH BETWEEN NURSES AND ELDERLY PATIENTS IN A CONTINUING CARE SETTING IN NORTHERN-IRELAND

K McCann, Hugh McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The use of touch is an inherent part of nursing practice. This investigation examined the amount and type of touch received by elderly patients from nurses. It also attempted to assess elderly patients' perceptions of instrumental and expressive touch given by nurses. The Extended Model of Interpersonal Interaction formed the conceptual framework for the study. Non-participant observation and semi-structured interviews were the methods employed for data collection. Results tentatively suggest that most nurse-patient touch interactions in a care of the elderly ward are instrumental in nature. Expressive touches are predominantly given to body extremities. The gender of the nurse initiating touch and the part of the body touched influence the elderly patients' perception of the touch interaction. In particular, expressive touching behaviours by nurses that involve the leg, face and around the shoulders are perceived as uncomfortable. The only touching behaviour perceived as comfortable by all respondents was instrumental touching of the arm and shoulder by a female nurse. Elderly patients may misinterpret the goal or the motivation behind touch initiation by a nurse. Therefore, an awareness and a sensitivity towards elderly patients' needs and desires for tactile communication are required by nurses.
LanguageEnglish
Pages838-846
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1993

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Northern Ireland
Touch
Nurses
Touch Perception
Human Body
Motivation
Leg
Nursing
Arm
Extremities
Communication
Observation
Interviews

Cite this

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abstract = "The use of touch is an inherent part of nursing practice. This investigation examined the amount and type of touch received by elderly patients from nurses. It also attempted to assess elderly patients' perceptions of instrumental and expressive touch given by nurses. The Extended Model of Interpersonal Interaction formed the conceptual framework for the study. Non-participant observation and semi-structured interviews were the methods employed for data collection. Results tentatively suggest that most nurse-patient touch interactions in a care of the elderly ward are instrumental in nature. Expressive touches are predominantly given to body extremities. The gender of the nurse initiating touch and the part of the body touched influence the elderly patients' perception of the touch interaction. In particular, expressive touching behaviours by nurses that involve the leg, face and around the shoulders are perceived as uncomfortable. The only touching behaviour perceived as comfortable by all respondents was instrumental touching of the arm and shoulder by a female nurse. Elderly patients may misinterpret the goal or the motivation behind touch initiation by a nurse. Therefore, an awareness and a sensitivity towards elderly patients' needs and desires for tactile communication are required by nurses.",
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AN EXAMINATION OF TOUCH BETWEEN NURSES AND ELDERLY PATIENTS IN A CONTINUING CARE SETTING IN NORTHERN-IRELAND. / McCann, K; McKenna, Hugh.

In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 18, No. 5, 05.1993, p. 838-846.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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